Barack Obama and National Right to Life went head-to-head over Obama’s abortion record, and Obama blinked. The Democratic presidential candidate now has backed off his claims that pro-life advocates were “lying” over his vote to kill a bill that would have prevented infanticide in Illinois. Obama’s campaign now acknowledges he “misrepresented” his position.Obama’s decision to sabotage the Illinois Born Alive Infant Protection Act (BAIPA) has repeatedly come back from the grave to haunt his campaign. Pro-life advocates, and National Right to Life, have hounded Obama over his “no” vote to BAIPA while a state senator in 2003.
BAIPA was a bill intended to clarify that any baby who is entirely expelled from his or her mother, and who shows any signs of life, is to be regarded as a legal “person” with all the rights thereto, whether or not the baby was born during an attempted abortion.
After appearing at Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church on Saturday to debate John McCain, Obama sat down to an interview with Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) correspondent David Brody.
Brody asked Obama to respond to questions over why he voted “no” to BAIPA, since Obama voted down the Illinois version, which was exactly identical to a federal bill passed unanimously by the US Senate. Obama became visibly irritated and accused NRTL of “lying” about his record.
“They have not been telling the truth,” Mr. Obama said. “And I hate to say that people are lying, but here’s a situation where folks are lying.”
Obama said he would have voted for a version like the federal BAIPA “even if it was as a consequence of an induced abortion.”
“So for people to suggest that I and the Illinois medical society, so Illinois doctors were somehow in favor of withholding life saving support from an infant born alive is ridiculous. It defies commonsense and it defies imagination and for people to keep on pushing this is offensive,” said Obama.
However, twenty-four hours later, the Obama campaign made an about-face and admitted that Obama, not NRTL, had “misrepresented” his own position, which his critics have charged defies “commonsense” and “imagination.”
The Obama campaign admitted to the New York Sun that Obama misrepresented his position when he told CBN that the federal version he says he supports, “was not the bill that was presented at the state level.”
The campaign acknowledged Obama had voted against an identical bill in the Illinois Senate, but then said Obama was worried that even as worded, the legislation might have undermined existing Illinois abortion law.
National Right to Life posted records from the Illinois Legislature showing that Obama during his tenure as chairman of a Senate committee voted against a “Born Alive” bill in 2003 that contained virtually identical to the language written in the federal BAIPA. (http://www.jillstanek.com/archives/2008/08/obama_campaign.html)
“The act of killing a just-born child was considered so heinous that the federal bill, the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, was supported by pro-abortion Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and unopposed by NARAL, the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League,” said Family Research Council President Tony Perkins. “Senator Obama’s position in the Illinois senate was to oppose any legislation that would protect such innocent life. Everyone else was clear that the bill addressed infanticide not abortion.”